The mercy rule doesn’t exist in college football, but that’s not what the Wagner Seahawks wanted to hear.
After Wagner trailed the Syracuse Orange 49-0 at halftime inside of the Carrier Dome on Saturday, the Seahawks asked to cut the game short in the second half, which was agreed upon.
Just like the NFL, college football quarters are 15 minutes each in length. However, the second half of Syracuse vs. Wagner will only last 20 minutes instead of 30.
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That raises the question: how is that possible?
According to the NCAA handbook, it’s allowed. Here’s what it states: “Any time during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods may be shortened by mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the referee.”
But even though it’s legal as long as all parties concur, it’s not a rule that’s often utilized – even in the case when a team loses 98-0, which happened on Sept. 24 in a game between Stephen F. Austin and Warner.
It last happened in 2016 when Clemson beat South Carolina 59-0 after being up 45-0 at halftime. The third and fourth quarters in that game were shortened from 15 to 12.
The year before in 2015, Boston College and Howard decreased the second-half quarters to 10 minutes each after the Eagles led 62-0 at halftime before winning 76-0.
It’s been a strong start to the Orange’s season as they head to a 5-0 start. Next week it’ll be a tough matchup against currently ranked No. 10 NC State – one that probably won’t have shortened quarters.